Human rights and peace are at risk and under attack, warns Guterres (+photos)

Human rights and peace are at risk and under attackDuring the convening of the 55th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the body's head warned that many communities were torn apart by violent rhetoric, discrimination and hate speech.

1708951361 518 Human rights and peace are at risk and under attack

The High Representative recognized the terrible cost of spreading conflict when warring parties trample on human rights and international humanitarian law.

Added to this are the obstacles against information, the poorest and nature, which all have one thing in common: they are a war against basic human rights, he said.

In all cases, the UN chief added, the path to peace begins with full respect for all human rights – civil, cultural, economic, political and social – and without double standards.

Guterres insisted on the beginning of a new era of multipolarity with new opportunities for leadership and justice on the international stage.

But he warned that multipolarity without strong institutions was a recipe for chaos as tensions rise due to competition between powers.

The parties to the conflict are turning a blind eye to international law, the Geneva Conventions and even the United Nations Charter, the Secretary-General added, citing ongoing hostilities in Gaza, Sudan, Ukraine and Myanmar.

This scenario requires serious reform of “its composition and working methods” in the UN Security Council, he stressed.

The Portuguese diplomat addressed the crisis in the occupied Palestinian territories and recalled his unsuccessful efforts to reach a ceasefire solution within the supreme body responsible for the security of the planet.

“I invoked Article 99 for the first time in my term in office to put as much pressure as possible on the Council to do everything in its power to stop the bloodshed in Gaza and prevent escalation. But it wasn’t enough,” he lamented.

Tens of thousands of civilians, including women and children, have been killed in Gaza as international humanitarian law continues to be under attack, he said.

Guterres reiterated his concerns about the increase in conflict-related violence and human rights violations, while recalling that all parties must distinguish between civilians and combatants at all times.

The High Representative recalled that international law prohibits attacks on civilians or protected infrastructure, including schools and hospitals; forced displacement; including the taking of hostages and the use of civilians as human shields.